26 Jun 2018

Fostering Emotional Diversity in Boys

Newington prides itself on providing an educational environment and culture that promotes and celebrates both diversity and inclusion. Although I have just begun my journey here, I can already see evidence of this imbued in conversations, customs, practices and procedures in almost all facets of school life. This article is inspired by the notion of diversity and a beautiful series of photos from the Has Potential art exhibition 2015, taken by Fin Thompson (ON 2017)[1].    

Psychologists, particularly from the field of positive psychology, have long advocated and defended the importance of cultivating positive emotions as a way of improving wellbeing, resilience and enhanced physical health[2]. Not surprisingly, when people are asked what emotions they want to feel, they place importance on wanting to feel predominantly positive emotions[3].

Recent research, however, posits that the choice may be more complicated. Work by psychologists suggests there is a benefit in experiencing a diversity of emotions, both positive and negative. Just as the natural world flourishes through a biodiversity of flora and fauna, this work – termed “emodiversity”[4] –  compares the human mind to an internal psychological ecosystem that may profit from experiencing a broad diversity of emotions. This is evidenced in adults who report experiencing a greater diversity of both positive and negative emotions also presenting with fewer symptoms of depression. This is consistent with what has long been expounded about emotions: namely, that emotions serve as a guidepost on the map of human experience, drawing our senses to important indicators in our environments – the warning signs, things that need to be differentiated, altered, managed and understood[5]. Extrapolating further, the emotional ingredients underlying wellbeing might well be more diverse than simply feeling good or positive emotions.

If experiencing different emotions is beneficial for our health as adults, then shouldn’t we be fostering a diverse range of emotions in young children too? Yet the research suggests we as a society are not fostering emotional diversity from a young age, especially when it comes to raising young boys. This is echoed by Australian author and expert, Steve Biddulph:

“There is still a very widespread suppression of emotion in boys, and its only very enlightened parents …… who are aware of how crying protects mental health and heals the brain after loss. If boys don’t cry, it will come out in other ways, often as anger or violence.”[6]

Irrespective of whether gender differences in adult behaviour result from conscious or unconscious psychological processes, one thing is clear: boys grow up in a world populated by a narrower range of emotions, one in which their experiences of anger are observed, inferred and possibly even cultured. This renders other emotions, chiefly the more vulnerable emotions as diminished or absent in their developing minds.

While this is a concern, research from Harvard Medical School shows that boys are at least equally if not more emotionally expressive than girls[7]. This commences in infancy and continues through early childhood. So, it is plausible that boys might actually begin with a comparable intensity and range of emotional expressions. The corollary is that something is occurring in these early years, when children are the most receptive to messages regarding emotion displays, that might very well have a longer-term impact on their emotional growth.

Indeed, a lack of nurturing emotional diversity in children may have long-term consequences. As early as primary school, the avoidance of strong emotions (apart from anger) results in academic underperformance in boys[8]. Psychologists purport that children who block emotional vulnerability are more likely to become adolescents who engage in risk-taking behaviours such as drug and alcohol use. Later in development, men suppress their emotions more than women; and men in turn experience greater depressive symptoms and resort more often to physical violence[9]. Scientists venture that difficulty regulating emotions may explain the link between restricted emotions and aggressive behaviour toward others in men[10]. Given that the skills to regulate emotion are gained through reiteration, which boys may be less likely to possess if they are not permitted to experience the full range of emotions, this outcome appears to be more than likely.

Unfortunately, men’s restriction in emotional expression has extended, at least in Australia, to a rigorous and necessary debate about notions of masculinity. If any progress is to be made, one might suggest that fostering emotional diversity in boys is a good place to start. Australian author Tim Winton captures this beautifully:

“Children are born wild….. it’s wondrous, regardless of gender. Even when they’re feral creatures, kids are reservoirs of tenderness and empathy. But some do turn into savages. And sadly, most of those are boys. They’re trained into it. Because of neglect or indulgence…..Yes, boys need their unexamined privilege curtailed. Just as they need certain proscribed privileges and behaviours made available to them. But the first step is to notice them. To find them worthy of our interest. As subjects, not objects. How else can we hope to take responsibility for them? And it’s men who need to step up and finally take their full share of that responsibility.[11]

It is heartening to note that the Love and Anger workshops experienced by Year 10 students in 2015 had a profound effect on the boys and staff involved:

“The Love and Anger workshop, was most enlightening for me, to observe the practical ways we can acknowledge and physically experience emotions and share them in a with trusted community. It was that vulnerability with others that was so powerful.” [12]

As I gaze upon those provocative documentary photos outside my office, I see an affirmation and a constant reminder of the importance of boys being able to experience a diversity of emotions. These works of art inspire me to be less judgemental, accepting and tolerant of the vast range of emotions and emotional states that walk through the office door. Rather than attempt to dismiss them or immediately temper them, I need to be mindful of what they represent, what lies behind them and what they are signalling. They are indeed signposts and they are the kernels of growth and development.

Andy Quinane
Deputy Head of Stanmore (Students)


[1] The photos were taken by a Year 10 Photographic Digital Media student, Fin Thompson, who documented the Visual Arts students participating in the Anger and love workshop that preceded the Has Potential exhibition.

[2] Fredrickson, B. L. (2000). Cultivating positive emotions to optimize health and well-being. Prevention & Treatment, 3(1). Article ID 1.

[3] Tsai, L Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 2, 3: pp. 242-259.  Sep 1, 2007.

[4] Quoidbach, J., Gruber, J., Mikolajczak, M., Kogan, A., Kotsou, I., & Norton, M. I. (2014). Emodiversity and the emotional ecosystem. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(6), 2057-2066.

[5] Greenberg, Leslie S Safran, Jeremy D. American Psychologist, Vol 44(1), Jan 1989, 19-29

[6] https://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/steve-biddulphs-incredible-new-findings-on-raising-boys-today

[7] Weinberg, M. K., Tronick, E. Z., Cohn, J. F., & Olson, K. L. (1999). Gender differences in emotional expressivity and self-regulation during early infancy. Developmental Psychology, 35(1), 175-188.

[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/education/edlife/teaching-men-to-be-emotionally-honest.html

[9] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/education/edlife/teaching-men-to-be-emotionally-honest.html

[10] Cohn, A. M., Jakupcak, M., Seibert, L. A., Hildebrandt, T. B., & Zeichner, A. (2010). The role of emotion dysregulation in the association between men’s restrictive emotionality and use of physical aggression. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 11(1), 53-64.

[11] https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/09/about-the-boys-tim-winton-on-how-toxic-masculinity-is-shackling-men-to-misogyny

[12] Quote from Newington Visual Arts teacher Hannah Chapman

The Magic of Rock

The contemporary music program at Newington College is a truly magical thing. Picture this…Centenary Hall, flashing all the different colours you can think of, light bouncing off the walls. Boys and girls jumping up and down, screaming their enjoyment at the stage. Vibrations travelling through the floor, up your body and consuming you in the booming but beautiful music created from those delicate strings. The scene is utterly astonishing.

Every year at Newington, under the supervision of Mr Paton, over 100 boys from years 7-12 come together to form bands with the goal of performing at Rockfest, a riveting annual concert that is the face of the contemporary music program. Those fortunate enough to be involved invest numberless hours over the year preparing for this brilliant showcase of talent and ability. It all comes down to one night, where the boys have the opportunity to play for and entertain a proper audience, there to witness the true passion that is projected. Mr Paton, creator and organiser of the contemporary music program for ten years running sacrifices his own time to give us as aspiring musicians the opportunity he wishes he had but never did: the chance to experience performing at a professional level concert. “[He] wants to create a sense of magic for the boys.”

The contemporary music programme is so much more than ‘one of the many co- curricular opportunities that Newington offers’. It is the chance for us to escape our normal lives consisting of school work and any other dramas and really let loose doing something we want to do. Every aspect of the program is amazing, from discussing songs and their merits at the beginning of the year, through numerous band practises that start at 3:30 PM and only end when we feel we ought to do our homework, until finally, that one night, that one exhilarating frenzy of raw power and emotion. You feel the energy from the crowd wash all over you and you just let it drive you. When the lights hit you and you see the never-ending rows of silhouetted heads all turned towards you, waiting eagerly for the clapping of drumsticks to bring them back to life again; when your ears ring with the delicate and beautiful, yet powerful sound of the guitar solo; when you clasp the mic with both hands and feel the music travel elegantly through the air, you truly appreciate the magnificence.

The ‘magic’ of performing is not the only thing the contemporary music program offers. Playing in a Rockband for over 3 years now, I have discovered the endless benefits that come with the experience. This includes learning and refining multiple skills and attributes such as memorising important information, hand-eye coordination, comprehension skills, listening skills, perseverance and of course, confidence. It has an incredible impact on self-esteem because, in a band, you really feel valued. Everyone has an important role and we all rely on each other to make our performance the best it can be. Being part of a band has presented me the opportunity to develop as a leader. Once in the music room, we are away from the regular world where we have to answer to a higher authority.

We become our own bosses, and with that freedom comes the choice, the choice that decides what Rockfest really means to us. Do we mess around and come away from Rockfest disappointed in ourselves, or do we practise until we can’t get it wrong? We progress as leaders by making this choice, but that in no way means I don’t cherish every minute of rehearsals. As a guitarist, I play my guitar at any given opportunity. I play when I’m sad, I play when I’m happy. I play when I want to feel the sensation of the strings vibrating and the delightful sound of the different harmonies played perfectly in a chord. I play when I just want to take a break and relax because it gives me the relief of doing something that thrills me in a way that TV and Playstation could never come close to doing. So naturally, an afternoon of playing guitar alongside my mates is one of the biggest highlights of my week. These rehearsals develop friendships dramatically as the bonding that comes with expressing yourself musically is a bonding like no other. My fellow contemporary musicians are people that I would regard as some of my closest friends for this very reason. As Albert Hammond Jr. says, “When you get together in a group, it becomes like a family, with the different personalities and the politics that comes with being in a band. It’s different than bringing something in by yourself.” There is a sense of community that wouldn’t be found anywhere else.

Rockfest is one of the biggest events in the calendar as everyone in the vibrant audience of over a thousand people love it so much. Whether you are a parent coming to show how proud you are of your son for his amazing talent, an avid Rock music fan who jumps at every chance you get to watch quality live performances or just someone there to have a good time dancing around with your mates, it is a great experience for everyone and they all thoroughly enjoy it. With the immense support from audience members and the expression of what Rockfest means to us as musicians, it seems inevitable that contemporary music at Newington will grow to become a program admired by other schools across the state. 

It is evident how much playing contemporary music means to those involved and how we all long to showcase our performance passion. I look forward to witnessing the growth of the program as it truly is a magical thing.

Charlie Timpson (11/JN)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Middle School Production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ran over three stellar performances, kicking off on 14 June. Girls from PLC Sydney joined our middle school boys for the updated Australian take, on a Shakespeare classic. It was great fun for audiences and performers alike.

Congratulations to all involved and a big thank you to all who came to support the show!

Stan Grant speaks at Centre for Ethics

Award-winning journalist, author and social observer Stan Grant posed a thought-provoking question when he spoke at Newington College’s Centre for Ethics last week. 

In a world that is changing at an astounding pace, where nation states are re-emerging, where great powers like China reject what many see as “universal values”, perceiving them instead as “western values”, and where national borders house multiple faiths and cultures, what does it mean to be Australian?  

The Centre for Ethics has been privileged to host many impressive speakers in recent years, and Mr Grant was no exception.  

He has reported some of the most significant events in world history. They include the fall of apartheid, the advent of peace in Ireland, terrorism in Pakistan and the Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China, a country where he lived and worked for many years. He has, he says, had a front seat to history. 

His described the current global state as “post-American”, where the world’s most powerful nation is drawing back into itself as others like China and North Korea are asserting their positions. Authoritarian figures are now the powerful leaders on earth. Faith in institutions is in decline and populism is on the rise. 

Nations are finding their own way, moving away from global structures (witness Brexit and the US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council), he said.  

But he offered a quote to the packed The Old Boys Lecture Theatre: “Democracy always appears more frail than it is”, and spoke about his optimism that Indigenous Australians are working to “complete the nation” through efforts like the Uluru Statement. 

And, after a years of rumours he would enter politics, he confirmed to the audience he preferred life on the sideline. 

“I’m a writer and observer” he said. 

The next Centre for Ethics speaker will be Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sydney Dr Caroline West, who will talk about The Philosophy of Happiness on 1 August 2018. 

Victory at Theatresports Grand Final

CONGRATULATIONS to our senior and intermediate Theatresports teams, who both won their Grand Finals at the Impro Australia Theatresports School’s Challenge at Enmore Theatre on Sunday,17 June. Our intermediate performers tied with a terrific team from PLC Sydney. 

A big thank you to Theatresport coaches Tamara Smith, Jenna Owen and Reuben Ward (ON 2012).


Boori Monty Pryor visits Newington

Year 9 boys were privileged to welcome Indigenous author Boori Monty Pryor to Newington College recently.

Mr Pryor – who, as well as writing several books, won a silver medal for Australia for basketball in the Masters’ Games and in 2012 was Australia’s first Children’s Laureate – spoke to the boys about growing up at a time when his parents couldn’t vote and weren’t considered citizens, and his colourful experiences at school.

He told our boys to value their teachers because they would help light a flame that could shape the rest of their lives.

Hamish Thompson (9/ME) and Martin Duong (9/LE) describe the impact of his visit below.

“Boori Monty Pryor is an Aboriginal man raised on Palm Island. Monty was an amazing and entertaining speaker and really knew how to make boys our age laugh.

“He talked to us about his childhood, dealing with prejudice against Aboriginal people, and told stories about how he dealt with bullying growing up with dark skin in an all-white boys school. He also talked about his teachers and his experiences growing up into an adult.

“Despite the horrors he and his family faced, he still talked enthusiastically, joking the whole way.

“Our year group learnt many things as he talked about his experiences and actually hearing someone’s experiences definitely helped us understand and empathise more about what happened to the Stolen Generations.”

Life is more about the ‘Journey’ than the ‘Destination’

‘… Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.…”’

(John 17:20-21)

The theme at chapel throughout Term 2 has been ‘Journeys’. The boys have been invited to consider the importance of recognising the various journeys that take place in life, including that of migration and moving, pushing through the reluctance of commencing something new, the journey of the young and the notion that a journey may involve changing our direction and perspective. The underlying theme throughout each chapel message has been to make the most of whatever journey we’re on, as this forms the basis for change, growth and character development. If we become too caught-up in the perceived destination; the HSC/IB exams, the ideal career, finishing school or even retirement, we may miss the joy that comes from the experiences along the way.

For many, the notion that the ultimate destination is ‘Heaven’ or ‘the afterlife’ is a source of great hope that is embedded within Christianity and other faith-based religions. The motivation to withstand persecution and hardship takes shape in the knowledge that something far greater awaits. As much as this may be a reality, what is also worth noting is that the journey toward this destination has already begun. The religious leaders during the time of Jesus were waiting for some physical spectacle to take place as a means of welcoming in ‘The Kingdom of God’, yet little did they realise that the King was already standing amongst them; the Kingdom had already come.

It’s like taking a family road trip to a distant town, anticipating that the destination will make the arduous journey ‘all worthwhile’, only to realise that the road trip itself was what should have made the journey worthwhile; time with the family and the ensuing memories of experiencing life together. A friend of mine recently took a break with his family where they flew to various locations around the world. When I asked him about his trip, the thing he enjoyed the most was not any amazing, cultural experience, but rather the time spent flying between cities as it meant sitting together with his wife and children, enjoying each others’ company.

For Newington students, the journey has well and truly begun. Every day is an experience that should be savoured as precious; an opportunity to learn something new, to create memories with their cohort, to discover something new about themselves and to bask in the many wonders that surround us. In the words of Drake, the Canadian musician, “It’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination”.

Thank you to Mr Peter Laurence, Mr Rod Wood, Mr Graeme Philips and Mr Will van Asperen for presenting the chapel message during the Week 18B/19A cycle, where each has spoken about their personal journey. It has been inspiring to have various Newington staff share such authentic insight. 

Rev. Geordie Barham 
College Chaplain

Displeasing the Masses: Pop culture and resistance

Displeasing the Masses: Pop culture and resistance is the Term 2 exhibition at Concordia Gallery. It opened Thursday, 14 June and closes Wednesday, 27 June. The Year 9/10 elective class ‘Power, Propaganda and Plagiarism’ also contributed political text painting in response to the ideas represented in the artists’ work. The artists selected for the exhibition include Joel Stephen Birnie, Caroline Garcia, Josh Muir, Bhenji Ra, Justin Shoulder and Salote Tawale. The premise of the exhibition was to group artists who identify as being on the outside of mainstream culture, whether through gender, culture or history. The four video works and one digital print have provided rich conversations among the students.

Year 8, 9 and 10 Visual Arts students have visited the exhibition and heard from the curators Chiara Scafidi and Peter Waples-Crowe. They were asked to reflect on their experience with the artworks and analyse the artworks personally and culturally. Below is one account from Year 9 student Artie Torrible (9/MO) and his thoughts on Deep Alamat a collaboration between Bhenji Ra and Justin Shoulder.

Two trapped souls seek the same
Shifting and shaking to free a way
They both are different but have one aim
One uses aposematism and the other a sensual ballet

With flow and drift they become closer
The duo weave a new alamat with flexibility
One day they might meet without an imposer
Their bodies move unpredictably

Finally, they see their goal ahead
But do they touch or connect?
They look and see, some things are unsaid
Closer and closer until they affect

Thank you to New Women parent group for their ongoing support of Concordia Gallery projects.

Hannah Chapman
Visual Arts Teacher / Concordia Curator

From the Nurse

UK Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a Minister for Loneliness earlier this year, saying “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life”.

Initially, it was thought loneliness mainly affected the elderly, but loneliness does not discriminate. It affects young and old, wealthy and poor, people who are isolated and people who are surrounded by people. Loneliness is now understood to cause health problems and a predisposition to mental health issues. It is a painful emotional state.

According to the Australian Red Cross Loneliness Survey 2017, the main reasons for loneliness are:

  • Death of a loved one;
  • Breakdown of a relationship;
  • Isolation at school or work;
  • Moving from family/friends;
  • Losing a job, and
  • Having a baby.

Loneliness is prevalent during adolescence with more than 70% of adolescents experiencing recurring loneliness at age 18, a rate that declines to 60% by ages 35–40, and 39% for older adults. Older people may be more resilient to loneliness.

For adolescents, attachment to school and parental support have been found to be crucial. The teenage years are such a transition time. Teens are keen to feel socially accepted and to belong, while also starting to become more independent of their parents.  Peer relationships become very important.

Adolescents can have lots of friends or followers on Facebook but may lack real meaningful relationships. Social media provides ways for teens to connect and can be positive. Yet it might also show what they are missing, how different their life is from others – perceived or real. Social media doesn’t replace personal contact: an emoji can hardly replace a real laugh or an appreciative expression.

Teens who are well-liked and who feel supported by their friends are less likely to report feeling lonely. School attachment and feeling connected to people at school is protective. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg talked about the boys finding their ‘spark’, their special interest that brings with it interactions, conversations and a sense of belonging. Parental warmth is also thought to help protect from feelings of loneliness.   

Loneliness can lead to anxiety and depression but also cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, sleep disorder and make us more susceptible to illness. It’s not something to be ignored.

How should we tackle loneliness?

Firstly, it helps to accept that this is how you are feeling. Understand how it is affecting your mind and body. For example, you may realise you are not sleeping as well, or that you become anxious about going out to do your regular activities. Decide to take action.

It would be easy to say join a sporting club, church group, or become a volunteer, phone a friend you have lost contact with or get a hobby. This may well improve short-term loneliness.      

But for persistent long-term loneliness, it appears we first need to be comfortable within ourselves. In Struggling Adolescent, Dr Les Parrott writes: “Being alone is marked by introspection and renewal. Feeling alone is marked by self-pity and feelings of abandonment”. We must acknowledge our own negative thoughts limit our ability to connect and engage. If we feel unworthy, unlikeable, inadequate or ashamed, how can we feel confident to pursue and contribute to a friendship? These feelings must be examined, challenged and new behaviours learned.

Once we understand this we can believe that overcoming loneliness is within our control.         

Sister Margaret Bates
School Nurse 

Exchange students visit Newington

Newington has welcomed eight exchange students, six from France, and two from the USA, all of whom will stay with Newington families for the remainder of the term.

Oscar Morand (Y10), Thibault Chatillon (Y10), Raphaël Sagot (Y10), Gonzague Preau (Y9), Vickram Rameschesing (Y10) and Edward Huguenin-Virchaux (Y11) join us from Lycée St Vincent in Senlis, a town 50km north-east of Paris.

Andrew Edwardson (Y10) and Ian Murray (12/KL) (not pictured) join us from the Brunswick School, in Greenwich, Connecticut, a 40-minute train ride to Manhattan, NY.

I caught up with a couple of the boys and asked about their experiences so far in the Land Down Under.

How is Newington different from your school?

Gonzague (France): It is a boys’ only school, and I find it a bit more strict. We also don’t have a uniform.

Ian (USA): Both in terms of the student body and area, it is larger, which takes some getting used to. Also, we don’t have the house system that Newington does, or the exact uniform. However, beyond those differences, it is pretty similar to Brunswick.

Why did you choose to come to Australia?

Oscar (France): I think it’s a dream for a lot of people to go to Australia, and I’m not disappointed. I also chose it because it’s the longest trip so the best way to improve my English.

Thibault (France): I came to Australia because I would improve my English, discover a new country and this is the best trip of my school.

Ian (USA): It was one of the only non-language exchanges, and my older sister had gone before and loved it. So when I saw the opportunity I took it. Also, there are Tim Tams here.

What have you enjoyed the most so far?

Ian (USA): Going to new places and seeing what the country has to offer. I’ve been to Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Bondi Beach and more. Even in the winter, the weather is beautiful.

Thibault (France): The general mood of Newington and my long weekend in Heron Island.

Edward (France): I enjoyed it when we lit a fire on the beach at Pearl Beach.

What do you like about Newington?

Gonzague (France): The food at the canteen and the big campus.

Ian (USA): I’ve really enjoyed meeting some of the boys here. Although I will get to host Thomas when I get back to the United States, I’ve also met a handful of other guys I think I’ll stay in touch with when I come home.

Edward (France): Teachers are nice and more fun.

Mr Bennett, the Exchange Program Co-ordinator at Newington, summed up the magic of being part of an exchange.

“Languages are gateways to new cultures, allowing us to connect with others from different places around the world. An exchange experience, although daunting at first, will influence and inform your life. It will require students to be courageous, flexible, open-minded and demonstrate perseverance. However the enormous rewards for those willing to take the risk of an exchange is unparalleled: growth in self-confidence, tolerance, responsibility and independence are just a few.”

Most of the boys who are hosting now will be the same boys lucky enough to visit their respective exchange countries. These boys are given this opportunity from Year 9 to Year 11 and most see it as not only as a way to embrace different cultures but as a valuable learning experience. The boys who are hosting their French counterparts, Tom Sherratt (10/ME), Nic Bulley (10/LE), Jamie McNaughton (10/LE), Henry Armstrong-Bailey (9/LE), Tom Charley (11/PR) and myself, know this journey will also dramatically improve our French fluency, as the constant exposure to a genuine French life would teach us in a way that a textbook cannot.

I asked a friend, Nic Bulley (10/LE) about his outbound exchange to France in the December break.

What do you want to get out of the exchange?

By doing the exchange I hope to be able to experience a different culture while meeting new people and making good friends along the way.

What are you most excited about?

I am most excited for the five weeks that we get to spend in France during our summer holidays. Having the chance to stay with a French family and going to school there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I wouldn’t have without the exchange program.

What is one place you really hope to visit in your respective country?

I really hope to visit the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame de Paris but I’m happy and excited to visit anywhere.

Newington offers a broad spectrum of exchanges that come from all corners of the world. Students can travel to England, USA, France, Holland, Japan and Italy.  There have been connections made after the recent successful China tour to allow students to go on exchange to China. The College is also lucky enough to host around 10 Japanese students for a couple of days in Term 3.

I, along with the other students, am looking forward to joining our respective families in December. We are excited to embark on a new cultural journey. We will exchange glaring 30-degree heat for the 5-degree chills of winter, but overall, l we know that it is going to be an amazing and memorable experience.

Woojin Lee (10/MO)

Sport report

Congratulations to the following boys on their recent selection in representative AAGP Rugby Teams.

 The Opens players will play against CAS and CHS for selection in the NSW All Schools team.


  • Angus Bell (12/KL)
  • Tu’uta Atiola (11/FL)
  • Will Serhon (12/FL)
  • Damon Foley (12/ME)
  • Jacob Ratcliff (11/ME)
  • Sebastian Ewington (11/KL)
  • David Vei (11/LE)
  • Tom Latu (11/KL)
  • Saul Lewis (12/MO) 

The U16 players will play in the NSW U16 Championships on Saturday, 30 June and Sunday 1, July for a place in the NSW U16 team.


  • Thomas Maka (10/KL)
  • Curtis Palmer (10/FL)
  • Harry Janson (11/PR)
  • Abraham Hassan (10/LE)
  • James Douglas (11/PR)
  • Tolu Koula (10/FL)
  • Kaeo Weekes (11/MA)
  • Zac Hodges (10/MA)

We wish all boys the very best!

Counsellor makes his NRL debut

Newington College counsellor Mr Liam Nicholls has just made his debut as a first grade NRL touch judge. It’s no mean feat – to get to the top in refereeing took resilience, persistence and LOTS of fitness training. Black & White found out more.

What did you need to do to qualify as an NRL touch judge?

In terms of formal qualifications, there are specific referee / match official training and development courses with various levels. There is a pathway program, not dissimilar to the pathways in elite sports, where you can start in lower grade games and then progress to higher grades. There are other personal qualities like an interest in the sport of Rugby League and being physically active.

Why did you want to do it?

Everyone involved in refereeing of officiating has a different background and reason for getting involved. Personally, I enjoyed watching the game and playing it in high school, but identified early on that my talent as a player was not very strong. The next most obvious thing to keep involved was to start refereeing. It also became a part-time job to earn money and stay fit while studying.

What sort of fitness training do you for the job?

The fitness and training demands increase the higher the grade you are refereeing. To maintain a fitness level to do the job in the NRL, I complete 8-10 physical training sessions per week. The training activities vary from in the gym, to the pool, to running and bike riding. It involves a mix of strength and conditioning sessions similar to those the boys do at Newington in their respective sports. 

What’s the best thing about being a touch judge?

Definitely the teamwork aspect. You are part of a team and your primary responsibility is to assist your other mates on the officiating team to have their best performance and make accurate decisions in a game. 

How did you feel when you were told you’d be on the job in a first grade game?

To make it to the top in refereeing, like the top level in any sport, can be competitive and a long journey to get there. You need determination and persistence – the journey has taken 19 years to this point. When I was invited to be on a first grade game, my reaction was to feel a mix of gratitude, humility and excitement.  It also confirmed what many teachers, coaches and mentors had told me growing up, that “some things will take time to achieve, but if you persist and work hard, you will very often achieve it”.

How do you deal with it when people say you made the wrong call?

You quickly learn this is going to be part of the job. You accept that sometimes, just like players, you will make mistakes.  If you make a wrong call, the next job is to work hard to make sure you don’t make that same mistake again. You learn that not everyone will see it from your perspective or position on the field.

Passionate and excited spectators will say you got it wrong every time the call went against their team. You learn to block out opinions that are not constructive or helpful to take on board. You need resilience to be referee. 

What lessons do you learn from being a touch judge that you can pass onto our boys?

The decision to become a referee/touch judge has taught me many lessons that have transferred to both my personal and professional life. The list is too numerous to mention here. A few key lessons I have learned include:

– Committing to something over time and being exposed to challenging environments will build resilience, self-confidence and self-belief. 

– You can control your work ethic, your character, your attitudes and actions. These are the things that determine the outcome and your success.  This is more important than ‘natural talent’.

– Participating in a sport or hobby can build the character traits that Newington encourages the boys to develop, being Self-directed, Reflective and showing Courage, Humanity and Leadership. 

– Recently, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg encouraged Newington parents to help their boys find something that “sparks their interest”. Refereeing was this for me and started when I was in high school. It doesn’t matter what it is … sport, drama, music, debating, cadets, anything … Discover what it is you’re your good at, or grabs your attention and interests, then apply yourself and pursue it. You never know where it will take you. 

Who’s your team?

Many people seem to ask this question, often because they are fans of the game and the competitive spirit in them assumes that everyone must have a team. I can honestly say I do not support a team. When you become a referee you take on a new perspective watching the game, you learn to be neutral, objective and make impartial decisions without emotions getting in the way.

2018 Careers Expo

On a very wet June evening, the annual Careers Expo was held across several venues on the Stanmore campus. Nearly 50 exhibitors set up in the Centenary Hall, creating something of a carnival atmosphere. These came from the major universities across New South Wales and ACT, private colleges engaged in everything from Early Childhood Care to Hospitality to Event Management, as well as TAFE and Defence. There were representatives from organisations involved in getting Australian students places in US Colleges and others involved in vocational pathways.

73 ONUs and parents formed panels in the Year 12 Common Room in the Rae Centre to address the questions presented by the boys. Industries represented included law, medicine, finance and banking, engineering and construction and many more. The experience the boys (and the Old Boys) get out of this exchange is very worthwhile and constructive. I’ve heard of some Facebook connections being made because of interactions on the night.

One added attraction this year was to invite current University students to come along and share their experiences with the current students. With a mind to the ONU’s desire to establish a Mentoring program, the sharing of ideas and experiences was invaluable.

Mr Trent Driver, Deputy Head of Stanmore (Academic), enthralled the collected parents with his engaging presentation on applying to university and debunking the myths of the ATAR, another highlight of the night.

Once the heavens opened, and sport training was cancelled, it was always going to be a question of how many boys would come back. While the turnout was a little down on previous years, the experience for those that attended was invaluable.

Thanks must go to all those who helped on the night and in the lead up to the event, but none more than Ms Sabine Tanase. Her drive, enthusiasm and expertise were the force behind the success of the event.

Shane Serhon 
Head of Careers

F1 teams visit Porsche

On a damp and cold Saturday morning several weeks ago, two teams from the F1 in Schools program at Newington made the journey to Porsche Centre Sydney South for an exclusive opportunity to be shown around the showroom and tour the restricted workshops.

Immediately greeted by an array of classic and modern, rare Porsches, including an original 356, one of two right-hand drive examples brought to Australia, the two teams inherently pulled out their phones to take countless photos and videos, any of which would make a Porsche enthusiast envious. After we had finished admiring the incredible cars on the showroom floor, we were taken into the pre-owned showroom to see our guide for the tour and Porsche Centre Sydney South After-Sales Manager, Brad Cranston, who started by showing us the several hundred thousand-dollar prices of some of the pre-owned cars.

General Porsche discussion followed before we made our way into the workshop, which is not open to the public, where Porsche cars are serviced and repaired. The engine from a 991.1 GT3 immediately grabbed the attention of the group and as Brad explained, had been taken out of the owner’s car due to a problem with the cylinder firing order and the car was awaiting a brand-new engine from Germany which would be fitted in the workshop. Other cars littered the workshop, all in various states, some awaiting a service whilst others were being repaired after having been involved in light collisions. However, contradictory to the rest of the workshop was a recently released 991.2 GT2 RS which made world-headlines after it became the fastest production car ever to lap the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany. Kindly, it was started and revved by Brad, who also explained the many options and features on this car, such as the brake rotors which cost twelve and a half thousand dollars each.

After we got to experience the thrill of the GT2 RS being started up and revved, the exact same car that was driven by former Australian Formula 1 driver Mark Webber around the Melbourne Grand Prix track Alberts Park in early 2018. We were ushered into the Porsche engine room. It had a familiar smell of engine oil and there were engine parts crammed in due to the day’s events. We got to see the steering column of a Cayman and the boxer engine from a 911 GT3 RS and learnt about which wheels receive power from the engine on each of the cars. Brad kindly explained the process and equipment used by the team to remove and repair Porsche engines.

As we exited the engine room, we moved back into the showroom and gathered around a 911 GT3 Cup Car. The boys learnt the specifications of the car and the differences between it and a normal road car. Brad then challenged everyone a time trial to see who could get into and out of the car in the quickest time possible, it is challenging because the roll cage is situated in front of the entry point, blocking direct access to the seat. As ecstatic as we were, the day had to, unfortunately, come to end. Kindly enough, Brad had organised for gift bags to be given to the members part of F1 in Schools containing all sorts of Porsche related goodies.

The boys were thrilled with the experience and the could not have been any better. We would like to thanks Ms Lak for organising the day, for Porsche Centre Sydney South and Brad for taking us around the complex and diving into the complex details about Porsche.

Peter Pontifix (10/MA) and Jordan Stojcevski (11/PR)